"We are anticipating good monsoon this year filling the Srisailam dam, so that the government can depend on the hydel power generation during the khariff season," the official said. The government will take a final view only after the end of the rainy season, he said.
According to sources, the problem of power shortage would continue till the government takes up the issue of natural gas supply on a war footing. While the PSU oil companies have failed in supplying natural gas, the private sector is reluctant to supply at lower prices.
In spite of uncertainty hanging over the gas supply, the state government targets to set up about 2964 MW of gas power generation units during the 11th Plan period. The state has already about 2080 MW capacity waiting for gas supply for over two years. It is now forced to spend an additional cost on naphtha, the substitute fuel for natural gas, to make good the power shortage, the official sources said. Andhra Pradesh has already spent about Rs 1,000 crore during the current year, sources added.
Championing the issue, Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy insisted that the Centre should establish a 'gas regulator', which will determine the price, without leaving it to the market mechanism. "My government has been insisting that a market regulator cover upstream natural gas pricing also, till such time the supply-demand balance improves and there are an adequate number of players," he said at the recently held Chief Ministers and power ministers conference in Delhi. Interestingly, even the expert committee of the Planning Commission in its integrated energy policy report also suggested similar recommendation, Reddy said.
By March 2008, the state will have 12,020 MW installed capacity, while APGENCO adds 1,347 MW capacity during 2008-09, taking the total capacity to 13,367 MW. Further, the state has draw up a program to add 14,176 MW during the 11th Plan period under state, private and central sectors.